Updated: Nov 27
When we venture into the great outdoors, we step into a world that has existed far longer than our concrete jungles and bustling cities. Nature is fragile, intricate and delicate yet timeless, powerful & steadfast. To immerse ourselves in nature is to acknowledge a responsibility - a responsibility not just to experience, but to cherish and preserve.
This is where the Leave No Trace principles come into play, forming the bedrock of a philosophy that extends far beyond mere rules.
Introducing the Leave No Trace Principles
You may have heard of the seven Leave No Trace principles:
Plan ahead & prepare
Travel & camp on durable surfaces
Dispose of waste properly
Leave what you find
Minimise campfire impacts
Be considerate of others.
Originating in the States & adopted across the world, these Principles provide a compass for minimising our impact on the environment, while revelling in its beauty.
But these principles are more than just a checklist; they are the embodiment of a value system that guides our interaction with the natural world. Each principle reflects a mindful approach, a conscious choice to treat nature not as a playground to exploit, but as a sanctuary to respect.
From Practice to Habit: The Evolution of Leave No Trace
"Practice makes perfect" is a phrase we're all familiar with. In the context of Leave No Trace, practice makes habit, and habit, in turn, becomes second nature. Our first steps into these principles might feel like deliberate actions, but over time, they meld into our very being. We find ourselves automatically choosing durable paths, picking up litter that's not ours, and treating the wild as we would our own homes.
An Emotional Connection to Nature
To truly understand the power of Leave No Trace, we must embrace its emotional dimension. These principles evoke different emotions and perspectives for each of us. Our experiences in the outdoors colour our outlook—transforming words into feelings. Imagine arriving in a pristine countryside spot, feeling like the first person to have ever set foot there. That's the emotional connection that fuels Leave No Trace.
Voices from CampWild: Personal Perspectives on Leave No Trace
The CampWild Project stands as a testament to the profound impact nature can have on us. The individuals behind it share their perspectives on Leave No Trace, illuminating the individuality within the collective attitude toward the outdoors:
Alex, Co-Founder of CampWild, emphasises the need to reintegrate nature into our lives and stresses the importance of education and appreciation. Leave No Trace he says is the first three words in a book that is yet to be written.
Rowan, Alex's brother, captures the essence of feeling like a pioneer in untouched nature. Everyone should feel like a pioneer in nature, like noone has ever been there before.
For Mark, the dad of Co-Founder Tom, it is all about respect: for the environment, wildlife, and the people that work tirelessly to work & manage our landscapes.
Lizzie and Melissa, CampWild Wildlings, highlight the urge to share the beauty of the outdoors responsibly, fostering a desire to leave these spaces even better than we found them.
Nadine, another CampWild Wildling, sees Leave No Trace as a call to action against laziness and a way to protect biodiversity. Ingrained in young people's minds, the future is only bright.
Chris and Dan, CampWild Wildlings & Experienced Wild Campers, believe Leave No Trace is a flexible spectrum, not a rigid rulebook. They believe it is about making conscious choices that honor nature's integrity. When we follow these principles, we become stewards of the land, nurturing it for future generations.
All these voices cannot emphasise enough that these Principles are a value system, an ethic that transcends rules and turns into a way of life. As we leave no trace, we adopt an attitude that reverberates with the sentiment that we must care for the land that cares for us. What does Leave No Trace mean to you?